Thank the Ceiling Cat above that Hitchens is back with his regular Slate column. This week’s topic is Qur’an burning. Hitch is not in his best form here—the piece almost looks phoned in—but the man’s been ill. Let’s be thankful he’s writing at all.
How dispiriting to see, once again, the footage of theocratic rage in Kandahar and Mazar-i-Sharif. The same old dreary formula: self-righteous frenzy married to a neurotic need to take offense; the easy resort to indiscriminate violence and cruelty; the promulgation of makeshift fatwas by mullahs on the make; those writhing mustaches framing crude slogans of piety and hatred, and yelling for death as if on first-name terms with the Almighty. The spilling of blood and the spoliation of property—all for nothing, and ostensibly “provoked” by the corny, brainless antics of a devout American nonentity, notice of whose mere existence is beneath the dignity of any thinking person.
Hitchens excoriates the incompetent and corrupt Hamid Karzai for inciting mob violence, and nearly calls for his ouster:
Already under constant pressure to make consistent comments about Syria and Libya, the Obama administration might want to express itself more directly about a man for whose fast-decomposing regime we are shedding our best blood.
We’re not going to “win” in Afghanistan, if “winning” means ousting the Taliban or other Muslim insurgents. And there’s no sign that we can help bring about an Afghan government who will. It’s time for us to take our lumps and leave.